Hypnotherapists use relaxation techniques and suggestion therapy to lull patients into a deep, trance-like state of heightened focus and concentration.
When hypnotized, patients remain awake and aware, but they may feel detached from their bodies and are more receptive to the therapist’s guidance.
Once the trance state is achieved, the hypnotherapist uses verbal repetition and mental images to influence the subject’s subconscious and reprogram the way they think or behave.
This is intended to enable long-term change by bypassing conscious resistance factors.
There are a few approaches a hypnotherapist may use during a session:
Suggestion therapy: Direct suggestions are given for feelings or behaviors
Guided imagery: Visualization of meaningful images is used for desired change
Age regression: Patients revert to a younger age to recall forgotten memories
Pros: Benefits of Hypnotherapy
So should you book a hypnotherapy session? Here are some of the evidence-based benefits associated with hypnosis:
Multiple studies found hypnosis can help people quit smoking long-term. A meta-analysis showed hypnotherapy patients were much more likely to remain abstinent from nicotine vs. non-hypnosis methods when combined with other treatments.
Hypnosis may reduce anxiety for certain conditions, including:
Fear of flying
Fear of public speaking
Fear of medical procedures
One study found a single 30-minute session of gut-directed hypnotherapy provided rapid relief from IBS symptoms due to anxiety.
Clinical trials indicate hypnosis could boost weight loss by an extra 8 pounds compared to diet and exercise alone. However, benefits seem to fade over time without reinforcement.
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However, experts note hypnotherapy has its limits in treating more complex psychological issues or chronic conditions:
Lack of Evidence
Little to no evidence hypnosis helps with depression, psychosis, dementia or PTSD
More research is needed on long-term efficacy
Effects seems to wear off without ongoing sessions
People may relapse back to habitual behaviors
No Magic Cure
Hypnotherapy may help manage issues but does not “cure” them. Ongoing work is required by the patient for sustained change.
Is It Worth Trying?
Whether hypnosis is worthwhile or not depends on your specific circumstances and adherence. If you struggle with anxiety or addiction, hypnotherapy could provide rapid relief when other methods have failed.
However, be wary of any therapists who guarantee “miracle cures” for serious conditions without empirical evidence. Managing expectations is key.
While more research is still needed, hypnotherapy is a reasonably safe option that may work for some people alongside other treatment plans.
As with any therapy, have clear objectives and give it multiple sessions before deciding if it’s effective or not.
Success Rates of Hypnotherapy
Up to 57% after 6 months
Avg. additional loss of 5 lbs
IBS symptom improvement
Up to 53% of cases
Dental phobia alleviation
Up to 74%
Hot flashes reduction
Avg. reduction of 68% possible
This table provides some statistics on the success rates of hypnotherapy for treating certain conditions, based on clinical study findings.
Hypnotherapy holds promise for select applications like fighting addiction or minimizing anxiety. But more studies are still needed to back up claims surrounding other uses cases.
Go into it with eyes wide open, adhere fully to the therapist’s guidance, and be patient before judging its long-term worth.
Mindful living for a happier, healthier you.
I’m a writer and mental health advocate in Warsaw, Poland, with five years working as a therapist. I hold a psychology degree from the University of Warsaw. I specialize in writing about mental health, using my experiences and academic background to educate and inspire others. In my free time, I volunteer at a Disability Learning Center and go for nature walks. My writing aims to break down mental health stigma and help others feel understood. Social
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